April 18, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

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Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

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Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

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Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Community members offer suggestions on plans for the future of UMass

Maria Uminski/Collegian

Maria Uminski/Collegian

The University of Massachusetts is in the process of creating a long-term plan that will attempt to ensure a positive future for the campus.

That was the sentiment that Dennis Swinford, the director of campus planning at UMass, expressed at an open forum on a campus master plan last Wednesday.

“We are creating a long-term campus master plan for this process,” Swinford, who was appointed to his post last September, said at the onset of the roughly three-hour-long forum. “We don’t want to do today something that will limit our process in the future.”

As part of the process of creating a master plan – which is a detailed sketch of what the physical campus will look like in the years to come – Swinford is working with a team of officials, including individuals from architectural and engineering firms, to determine what should be included in the scheme.

While nothing is seemingly set in stone yet for the plan, Swinford gave attendees of the forum – which was the third such meeting on developing a master plan – a presentation on areas and places on campus that are currently being looked at to improve or update over the next several years.

“Right now, we’re looking at the whole campus,” said Swinford, who detailed some of the areas being considered in a slideshow. 

Swinford’s presentation included a listing of buildings on campus that the planners are suggesting should be replaced or renovated in the next several years. It also broke down how much space in square feet is currently being occupied by structures on campus and included a map detailing how streets and other items around the main campus can be further developed.

Additionally, Swinford provided outlines of past master and development plans of the campus, and noted that one goal of the current plan is to preserve and improve open spaces on the property.

“One of the biggest systems that makes a campus a campus is the open space system,” he said.

“It’s this notion of creating campus; not just building buildings, but building a campus,” Swinford added.

A number of students, faculty and community members raised concerns and offered suggestions on the master plan during the meeting.

Randy Phillis, an associate professor of biology and the president of the UMass branch of the Massachusetts Society of Professors, the faculty union, was one of the most vocal participants in the discussion. Among his concerns was that the process of constructing or renovating structures could have a negative effect on people’s work.

“This is an extraordinary burden in real time for people that are going through the transitional phase,” Phillis said at one point during the forum. He added that he advocates for a “careful planning” process.

Some of the other concerns raised by forum participants were about possible plans to improve parking, the future of North Pleasant Street and ongoing construction research near Tobin Hall, which some felt was hindering research exercises from taking place inside the building. Concerns were also raised about the upcoming construction of the Commonwealth Honors College complex. That project has already been given the go-ahead and is not necessarily a large part of the current master plan process.

One student, who left the meeting before he could be identified by the Massachusetts Daily Collegian, also suggested that the master plan include a way to better connect the University with the greater Amherst community. He added that there should be a way for people to be able to quickly “sweep into UMass,” and see the library, the campus pond and a show at the Fine Arts Center.

At the conclusion of the forum, Swinford noted that the planning process is still ongoing, and suggested that many members of the community continue to participate in it.

“I think it’s important that we begin to create … planning on campus,” he said.  “By your participation, you’re supporting us.”

Another open forum on the master plan will take place on Wednesday, April 20, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Campus Center Reading Room. Swinford is hoping to have a draft of the master plan by the beginning of the fall 2011 semester.

William Perkins can be reached at wperkins@student.umass.edu.

Comments
One Response to “Community members offer suggestions on plans for the future of UMass”
  1. Mike L. says:

    Umass should invest in academics first and buildings second. Protect and elevate the Umass name through reputation of academic excellence and challenge and not that it has a good looking campus. How will a good looking campus serve you once you have graduated? Alas with the corporate model most big universities are adapting today they choose to attract students with “quality of life” aspects before academics. These aesthetic improvements will be rolled into the costs of attending. All this new construction just causes students to get less education for their dollar, and good looking sidewalks and trees.

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